Misinformation and inaccurate portrayals in the media allow many misconceptions about various Mental Health Disorders to spread. Eating Disorders are among the most misrepresented Mental Health Disorders in today’s world. The myths and misconceptions surrounding different types of Eating Disorders make it difficult to accurately identify and properly address these conditions. Perhaps even worse, this misinformation can cause individuals dealing with Eating Disorders to downplay the issue or avoid treatment.
Combating these misconceptions with accurate information is the key to supporting individuals with Eating Disorders and making sure they get the professional treatment they need. Read on as we debunk some common myths about Eating Disorders.
Eating Disorders Are Not Serious
Compared to many other Mental Health Conditions, Eating Disorders are relatively common both in society and in popular media. Moreover, media such as television shows, books, and movies often give inaccurate representations of Eating Disorders. For these and other reasons, many people struggle to take Eating Disorders seriously. They might think that an Eating Disorder is not that dangerous or that the condition is a temporary phase. Unfortunately, neither of these beliefs is true.
An Eating Disorder is a severe Mental Health Condition that can have extremely serious affects on one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Eating Disorder symptoms can lead to chronic health conditions and comorbid Mental Health Disorders. Without treatment, Eating Disorders can even lead to death. As such, it is crucial to treat an Eating Disorder as a serious health condition that requires professional treatment.
Eating Disorders Are All About Food
Food is obviously a major factor in Eating Disorders, but it is not the only factor at play. Eating Disorders are not as simple as simply eating too much or too little food. They affect you psychologically. Behaviors such as binge-eating, restricting calories, and purging are the results of compulsive thoughts or an obsessive need for control.
Moreover, Eating Disorders are commonly psychological responses to Anxiety Disorders, trauma, or other Mental Health Conditions. For many people, an Eating Disorder is a way to control an aspect of one’s life or body when other parts of life are dangerously out of control.
Understanding the mental and emotional aspects of Eating Disorders is crucial to addressing them properly. By tackling the underlying psychological influences of an Eating Disorder, Licensed Clinical Psychologists can treat the disorder at its source and create lasting positive change for their patients.
Anorexia Is the Only Eating Disorder
Anorexia Nervosa is the first condition that often comes to mind when people think about Eating Disorders. Anorexia involves an intense, unhealthy fear of gaining weight that leads to behaviors such as calorie restriction, purging, or overexercising. These behaviors get heightened media attention and representation than other disordered eating behaviors and symptoms, which makes Anorexia the most commonly known Eating Disorder.
However, disorders such as Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder are just as serious as Anorexia. Psychologists, patients, and the general population must take every type of Eating Disorder seriously. Learning about the causes and symptoms of other Eating Disorders can help you accurately identify them and seek help—or help a loved one seek help.
Eating Disorders Make You Thin
Because many individuals with Anorexia Nervosa lose a dangerous amount of weight, people tend to believe that Eating Disorders always make someone thin. This is both untrue and dangerous on multiple levels. First, not all Eating Disorders cause weight loss. In fact, some people with Eating Disorders gain weight or do not experience weight fluctuations at all.
Furthermore, believing that an Eating Disorder makes people thin only perpetuates the negative cycle of these disorders. This line of thinking encourages disordered eating behaviors and makes it harder for people to heal from their Eating Disorders.
Only Women Experience Eating Disorders
One of the most popular myths about Eating Disorders that we must debunk is the idea that they affect only women. The truth is that both young boys and adult men can develop Eating Disorders, too.
We often think of body image issues as a women’s problem. After all, women face greater criticism and pressure from their peers, from the media, and from society in general. But men also face those criticisms, and they can become self-conscious or experience feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing because of them. By openly discussing men’s experiences with Eating Disorders, society can destigmatize the issue and make it easier for men to find the treatment they need.
Eating Disorders Happen Only to Adolescents
Many people also think of Eating Disorders as problems that affect only teenagers. This is a dangerous misconception that takes attention away from the children and adults who develop Eating Disorders. Children as young as six years old can start to develop disordered eating behaviors as a result of feeling self-conscious about their bodies. Eating Disorders can also develop in adulthood and continue to affect men and women well into their senior years.
You Can Tell When Someone Has an Eating Disorder
Some people believe you can easily tell whether someone has an Eating Disorder. For instance, you may see a loved one eating normally, or you may not have noticed any noticeable weight fluctuations in them. This may lead you to believe your loved one could not possibly have an Eating Disorder.
However, because Eating Disorders affect everyone differently, it is difficult to identify an Eating Disorder by weight loss or gain—or a lack thereof—alone. Additionally, many people with Eating Disorders feel ashamed of their behavior even if they do not realize they have a Mental Health Disorder. This can lead to hiding symptoms and behaviors. For example, someone with Anorexia might still eat in front of others when they feel they are supposed to, but they will keep portions small or purge later when no one else is around.
Eating Disorders Are Permanent
Like any other Mental Health Disorder, you can treat an Eating Disorder with professional help. Blair Wellness Group provides compassionate and effective Eating Disorder treatment in Orange County. With years of experience and expert knowledge in various evidence-based therapies, Dr. Blair can help you heal from your Eating Disorder and create a life that is healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. Find the help you deserve when you make an appointment with Blair Wellness Group today.